Hello Magic Community,
I return in Triumph! Sorta. Kinda. Welcome back to the Jester’s ReCap, a fairly infrequent and loosely accurate retelling of all the Magic News you didn’t have time to read, but saw a bunch of angry people bitching about. First, let me say thank you if you’re reading this. I have not made one of these in over a month, which in internet time is somewhere close to a hundred million billion years. I had some personal issues that sidelined me, and since I have enough professionalism to fill a thimble halfway I didn’t warn or tell anybody. Just sort of wandered off in the woods and came back when I was good and ready. So now that I’m back, what’d I miss while I was gone?
Ok. Wow. That’s….that’s a lot. Whelp, I’ll do my best. Buckle up folks. This is going to be a long one. Before we get into it, though, you know what’ll feel good and get me back in the mood?
You know, I was almost burned out on writing inventive ways to shit all over a computer program that exists perpetually in a state JUST functional enough to buy Hasbro executives a third yacht. And the recent Innistrad flashback drafts are something I genuinely think they should do every Hallowe’en, so they’ve won more goodwill from me than they normally have. But I haven’t stretched out, pulled back the hammer and really leaned into these assholes in way too long, so let’s just drop the gloves and make it happen.
Today’s rant will be about potential. You might think MTGO had lots of potential. It was built by talented people. It was managed by a multinational billion dollar toy conglomerate, and at its beating heart is the greatest card game ever made. There’s no excuse for MTGO to be what it is, right?
Wrong. That can’t be true. It can’t be, and the writing is on the wall as to why. Arena was built out of years of hard work and tons of money, sure, but it also exists because MTGO reached a point of irrevocable shittiness, a sort of event horizon of bad, because there was never any salvaging it. It was rotten to the core, dying down to the root. MTGO was relaunched 4 or 5 times. It was polished and scrubbed and hammered away on. It had rotating teams of highly paid professionals clipping bits off and clamping parts on. And in the end WOTC still decided the fastest, easiest and most effective way to have an online presence was to burn the whole goddamn thing to the ground and start over with a new platform. It still doesn’t work right, still doesn’t look good, still doesn’t understand its own strengths and weaknesses. What does it say when unlimited time and money won’t fix you, MTGO? You were a house so infested with vermin and roaches, so decaying and ugly, and so withered and unstable that your millionaire owners said “Screw it” and just moved down the road. I know Arena can’t do Flashback drafts like you can yet. I know the card pool is probably a decade from catching up. But make no mistake, you’re just the abandoned house on the street no one has taken a wrecking ball to yet. The bulldozer can’t come soon enough.
Arena, right now you’re shiny and new but just remember: one day it might be easier to toss you to the wolves too. Better stay frosty, Mr. Work-in-progress.
Todd Stevens Is a Prick, If Not a Criminal. Some of You Are Worse.
I step away for like, a couple weeks, and this happens? What on God’s green earth do I do with THIS? There isn’t anything funny here. There isn’t a joke to be made about Star City, or the women who made these allegations, and I’m not even comfortable shitting on Stevens. I mean, I’m a little comfortable with it, look at the section title, but by all accounts he got drunk a bunch of times and did some colossally stupid shit, probably because he has deep-seated issues regarding women and, presumably, a small dick. This is serious business. This isn’t a funny thing to stand up and rant about, and it’s not something where I can do my usual “half-remembered facts and mostly bullshit” take, because the nitty-gritty details are way too goddamn important. What’s true and what isn’t is too important. Where’s an easy punching bag when you need one?
Oh, what’s this, Todd addressed the issue? With an apology?
Let’s See… been fired…yadda yadda yadda… Lots of thought…not going to talk about it…sure… let’s paraphrase this next bit:
“I’ve travelled alot and met a lot of people. I never hurt anybody intentionally. I’m sorry if anyone was hurt or offended. I’ll try to be more mindful in the future. Thanks to everybody and I’ll be streaming tomorrow.”
Todd, you were accused of accosting women drunkenly on four separate occasions. The old “Oh, is that not allowed? Ok, I won’t do it again” defense isn’t going to cut it, buddy. You don’t get to plead ignorance to groping. Hands to Yourself is like preschool-level self control. You play Magic at like, a professional level. The most complicated game on Earth. Which part of “No Touchy-Touchy” was too much for your intellect?
But Todd’s half-hearted apology is practically self-flagellation compared to what some of Twitter got up to. Here’s a quick instructional guide for the Loudly Screeching Sewage People who demanded to know the names of the accusers so you could dox and hound them, or claimed this was some kind of “Feminazi” plot, or insisted that the women were lying and said that Todd had always seemed friendly and polite to YOU and so obviously his accusers were full of shit.
Step 1: Look in the mirror. See that thing looking back at you? I hate that. You should too. Do you hate it yet? Look closer, try harder. It should come naturally. That thing is gross and awful. It’s a waste of perfectly good teeth, ocular fluid and hair. Honestly, this is really just for people way down the rabbit hole. I’ve seen the way you act on the internet, a lot of you can skip this step as you already hate yourselves. If you really find yourself jammed up with too much self-esteem, call your Mom. That should sort it out.
Step 2: Sufficiently fueled by self-loathing, think of all the better, more productive ways you could have spent your time. You could have written a few pages of that novel you never get started on. Or hit the gym. Or worked an extra hour at your job and impressed your boss. You could have helped an old lady across the street, or donated 5 bucks to a charity or knocked doors for a candidate in the recent election. Hell, you could have sat on a couch and masturbated, and it still would have been an improvement. Anything, really, other than attack sexual assault victims’ credibility.
Step 3: Overcome with shame, fill out an organ donor card, settle your affairs and lie down in bed and wait to die. No pills, no noose, no boat fire, no laying down under a bus or jumping off a bridge. I don’t want you to die. I joke about suicide but I never seriously advocate for it. And I am not joking here. I am not making a “funny ha-ha” joke about how worthless you are. I’m saying, you are not worthy to be a part of this world. At least not today. Sit in bed, think about the person you want to be and just remove yourself. The rest of us are sick of your shit. Take yourself out of the game, until you’re ready to play on our level.
Man, that was out of my wheelhouse. So heavy. Don’t we have something a bit more my speed to-
ULTIMATE MASTERS ANNOUNCED
Oh, Thank you WOTC. Oh, thank you, you stupid bastards. You rock-stupid morons. You’re the best. The absolute best. What would I do without you people?
So, let me get this straight. Modern needs reprints, the cost of the format is higher than you want it to be. So you make Modern Masters. It’s an enormous hit, mostly because you do the very clever and difficult thing of making it a good draft format as well. It doesn’t exactly “fix” secondary market prices, but it helps and it makes you a couple of Luxembourg’s GDP worth of cash in the process.
Two years, you do it again. Modern Masters 2015. The draft format is crappier, but it still works like gangbusters. Money rolls in, hookers and blow for everyone.
Then, you decide to let Legacy and Vintage players get in on the fun with “Eternal Masters“. There’s no end to this gravy train!
In 2017, you release TWO Masters Sets. Modern Masters 2017, which was only ok to play but reprinted Damnation so hey, put up the W. And Iconic Masters.
2018 you release Masters 25. A celebration of every set in Magic’s history. Only apparently there aren’t enough good cards left, so you unban JTMS and cram him in there. But hey, we haven’t done a retrospective set since 8th edition, or maybe Time Spiral, so that’s a cool hook.
And now you declare “Ultimate Masters“. It has a bunch of cards you hadn’t got around to yet, chosen seemingly at random. It costs $14 USD a pack. It’s got “Box Toppers” with special full art. It has a limited print run. Oh, and it’s the last one of these for awhile.
5 years. That’s what it took for you to go from “We should really help this format keep costs down” to “Holy shit, they’re still paying for this”. And now that the party can’t possibly roll on any longer you’re doing away with the pretense and just robbing the place on your way out. Jack up the price, gotta squeeze every penny. Do away with the idea of a balanced draft format, that’s a bunch of work and we haven’t got it right the last three times anyway. Throw a gimmick on there. Tell them it’s rare, even if it isn’t. That worked out so great for the goddamn buy-a-box promos.
Wizards, I know we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but I’m telling you this as a friend. More than a friend, a devotee of your work and a patron of your product. Fire your marketing dept. They are evil. Not incompetent by any stretch, I’m sure this will keep the mistresses happy, the golden rocket cars fuelled and the yachts floating in a lake of pure champagne, but evil all the same. This entire 5 year stretch stinks of “Marketing Professionals” corrupting a tool for the health of eternal formats into a cash-grab scam of the highest order. Those people are making you rich, yes, but it’s short term thing and it doesn’t help the game and we’re starting to get some trust issues here.
Finally, and I know this is incredibly petty, but they couldn’t come up with something better than “Ultimate Masters” so they should be writing street signage for dollar stores, not product design for a billion dollar company.
And that’s me way, way over word count this week. There’s like a hundred things to cover over the last month but this is what stuck with me. Did you guys miss me? Did you even notice I was gone? Tell me you love me. Tell me the thing I should cover that I might have missed. Or you know, let the hate flow through you—I’m good either way—just comment. It’s the only way I’ll learn.